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Under-fire Cheika to unleash Tupou against Springboks

Australia have handed a first start to powerhouse prop Taniela Tupou for the crunch Rugby Championship encounter against South Africa.

The rookie front-rower is rewarded for some fine performances off the bench, including against the Springboks in the reverse encounter in Brisbane that the Wallabies edged 23-18. 

Allan Alaalatoa drops to the bench to accommodate Tupou, who has been challenged to take his chance in front of a hostile Port Elizabeth crowd by under-fire coach Michael Cheika.

“He can build the concentration from the very start and make sure he nails it all and obviously he’s got a lot of talent and only got six caps now,” Cheika said.

“I thought it might be a good opportunity for him in what will be a pretty difficult atmosphere I imagine and with a good front row opposite for him to show what he’s got.

“I believe in him a lot as a player and I’m sure he’ll do a very good job.” 

Tupou is one of four changes in the starting XV. Lukhan Tui, involved in an unsavoury altercation with a fan after the 23-19 reverse at home to Argentina last time out, has not toured and is replaced at blindside flanker by Ned Hanigan.

Pete Samu (knee) misses out, so returning captain Michael Hooper plays at openside with David Pocock moving to number eight.

Adam Coleman is the final change, starting at second row alongside Izack Rodda with Rory Arnold dropping to the bench.

Australia are bottom of the Rugby Championship standings having won just once from four matches.

 

Australia XV to face South Africa: Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Reece Hodge, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, David Pocock.

Replacements: Folau Fainga’a, Sekope Kepu, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Rob Simmons, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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